Hacking the Grid

Regular readers of this site will know I am a big fan of the Honl 1/8-inch grid. It is built like a tank, and designed to fit onto nearly any speedlight made.

The first day it arrived at my house (one of the first production samples in the country, as I would later find out) Dave Honl asked to me to test it out and see if it was tough enough.

So I ran over it with my car…

If memory serves, it was the exact grid pictured above. And to be fair, I have do drive a Scion XA, which is a pretty small car. And I ran over it pretty slowly. But still.

And he did say to test it for toughness. I emailed him back and said, "Yeah, it's pretty tough."

(That'll teach Dave to use me as a beta tester.)

These days I use it so much that it merited a little head-scratching, to see if I could make it faster to slap onto a flash. Dave's velcro mount was made for versatility across lots of different flashes, but I carry half a dozen identical SB-800s with me. So I am more interested in quick-change speed and ease of use.

To that end, my cheapo speed hack:

Rather than the velcro and speed strap mount, I modded mine to go on with an elastic band -- just looped through the grid. I went to my local Target store and got a pack of "Goody Ouchless Comfort Fit Headwraps" for about $2.00 for 8.

Cut into a strip, they fit perfectly through the 1/8" grid patterns -- and of course would also fit the 1/4" grids. I was gonna give the rest of them to my daughter, but they look pretty useful for other black mini bungee-related hacks. Sorry, Em.

In this case, it makes it a near-instant mount whenever I want to restrict the beam of my SB's with the even falloff that only a grid can give you. (That's the main difference between a grid and a snoot.)

And the mod is no knock on the grid, either. I tend to only mod things I use frequently. (And even then, only after finding DIY changes I can make to speed and/or ease my workflow.)


Got any cool mods of oft-mentioned small flash gear which may be helpful to other readers? Hit us in the comments with your favorite hacks.


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Blogger NamirY said...

No great hacks, but I'm wondering about your light. Let's see if I get it right: ring-light fill from the on-camera axis, and a hard key-- a bare SB-800, perhaps-- from above (what would be overhead if it were upright rather than lying down for this shot).

How'd I do?

June 25, 2010 12:19 AM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Isn't there a danger of partially melting the grid plastic to your flash now since there's no air gap?

June 25, 2010 1:03 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

Honl seems expensive. This seller has something similar on eBay UK. It has the same and more.



June 25, 2010 1:50 AM  
OpenID modifiedphoto said...

Nice hack! I love my Honl speed grid. I wish I had more! *wink wink* I do also find them to be rather large, even for my behemoth SB900.

Curious, did you cut the hair tie and knot the other end to hold it in place or something else?

June 25, 2010 1:55 AM  
Blogger John. said...

Hi David, I don't want to sound dim, but could we see that fitted to an SB800 to make it clearer how the mod works? Thanks.

June 25, 2010 3:33 AM  
Blogger Pat Morrissey said...

Hi David, I made some snoots from stretchy mouse mats - you can do speed straps from them too:

June 25, 2010 3:36 AM  
Blogger zander said...

...COOL, love hackenstein stuff! - but could you please show exactly HOW this bungie cord secures the grid to the flash (me need picture/diagram - just can't imagine how it all comes together - if you cut the loop, do you tie it back together so it forms a loop again once it's passed through the hole in the grid? and what part of the flash do the loops loop around?) - enquiring minds want to know! THANKS!

June 25, 2010 3:48 AM  
Blogger David said...


Yes, one continuous loop, cut and retied. The elastic stretches around the back of the flash nicely. No heat issues -- the grid is full of holes.

Sorry no extra pics -- I am on the road with nothng but a G11!


June 25, 2010 4:15 AM  
Blogger Andreas Knüpfer said...

Hi David!

My hack:
i destroyed a bouncer and create a grid!


best greetings!

June 25, 2010 6:46 AM  
Blogger CanEHdian_Bacon said...

I'm tired of dangling my PocketWi$$ards so I modified the Adorama Shoe Mount Multi Clamp and put the cold shoe on the side to keep the PW safe and secure. Here is a pic. DIY instructions and photos are here.

June 25, 2010 10:50 AM  
Blogger Dave6163 said...

Hi David,

Any lighting thoughts for the preference of the 1/8" grid over the 1/4" grid?

Or does the 1/8" just hold up better when you drive the Scion over it. :)


June 25, 2010 11:16 AM  
Blogger David B said...

"I have do drive a Scion XA, which is a pretty small car. And I ran over it pretty slowly. But still."


June 25, 2010 11:30 AM  
Blogger Alger said...

I made a home-made one that was inspired by the Honl Gridspots 2 weeks ago. Check this out for info http://www.flickr.com/photos/algerongimages/4733522990/

June 25, 2010 12:59 PM  
Blogger PrePhoto said...

Moving away from grids, I use plastic downspout "Y" shaped couplers for striplight control. Wrap the things with black gaff tape to control spill, and use a rubber door stop to hold 'em on.

June 25, 2010 3:59 PM  
Blogger Jon Thornton said...

I removed the plastic casing from my Honl grids and cut the honeycomb into two rectangles the same size as the front of my SB800s. Finally, I glued these rectangles into the ends of short rectangular cardboard snoots. I now have two grids for the price of one. Another benefit of my mod is that the grids are much easier to attach to my flashes.

June 25, 2010 6:15 PM  
Blogger jim baker said...

love the mod, just about to buy some grids, thanks for saving me some $$ :)

enjoying your shoots of the hcac people, went to school with caleb and went to church with erin good 'ol columbia. you should let me buy you indian food next time we're both in town

June 25, 2010 9:42 PM  
Blogger Myron said...

Hey On the Road Guy

I love my G11, too.
Sometimes it's even better than the big guys, especially on the neck and back.

Like my friend says, "The best camera is the one you have"

June 26, 2010 1:34 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

I've put two elastic bands around the sides that are joined at the back with another which accomplishes the same thing.

It is disappointing that given the price of these grids they come with no method of attachment and even with the additional a £8 piece of velcro (sorry I mean 'speed strap') the grid flops about.

They are also needlessly large and expensive.

June 26, 2010 6:18 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

Although I like the idea of speedstrapping it like this I am really curious if it is going to hold up.
Sure you've driven over it but are the individual holes as strong as the combined strength of it?
I just hope it won't tear.

To be honest though, I have never even held one in my hands so for all the world this could be the best thing ever :)
Wouldn't be the first thing on here to turn out like that ;)

My self made gridspots are often made from cardboard that comes from boxes they ship bananas in. Cut strips and glue, glue, glue

We can't really get the coraplast over in Holland (at least I can't)

June 26, 2010 10:17 AM  
Blogger LINK said...

Got a better pic of it over a flash? I don't understand how it fits on.

June 27, 2010 3:07 AM  
Blogger LINK said...

Got a better pic of it over a flash? I don't understand how it fits on.

June 27, 2010 3:07 AM  
Blogger Frederick said...

The Honeycomb multi-cell pack is a pretty sweet deal. I cut the bottom out of a neoprene bottle/can cozy and use it to connect the grid to the end of my speedlight.

June 27, 2010 3:19 AM  
Blogger Allan said...

I've held off purchasing the Honl grids because of the way they are attached via Velcro, Velcro is a great invention especially if you have a multitude of different flashes and in this case alone makes it invaluable.
I like what interfit have done with their strobies kit, but after seeing the issue my friend had with attaching his adapter to his 580ex II, I abandoned that idea.
Basically because I've bought into "the ultimate softbox system" from Harbour digital, I sent an email recently asking if they were thinking of adding a set of grids to their system, I got a reply saying that they are in the works.
These will snap on to their current flash adapters. This is good news.

June 27, 2010 10:44 AM  
Blogger RayPlay said...

mod on Lastolite Umbrella Box
Took off the plug at the end of the shaft, shortened the shaft and glued on the end plug again. Which makes it possible to move in closer with the umbrella box without sticking the shaft in someones nose. Makes assembly a few seconds more work cause of the too short shaft. Nice softbox by the way.

June 28, 2010 6:16 AM  
Blogger RayPlay said...

More a necessity then a modification for mounting the Nikon SB-900 on a
hotshoe. Drilling a small hole for the fixing pin.

June 28, 2010 7:01 AM  
Blogger Darren Whitley said...

Can you show side two? I'd like to see whether you knotted your bungie cords or what.

June 28, 2010 9:52 AM  
Blogger Steve Bodayla said...

TIP: If you stretch a speedstrap over the elastic bands, the grid won't fall of when you tilt the head.

On a related topic, I bought the Opteka "clone" of the Honl grid, and the grid is melting after pretty light use on a Vivitar 285HV.

January 03, 2012 6:24 PM  

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